Okanagan College Fall Investor Forum is a resounding success

Venture Okanagan Fall My tea 2Six companies battled it out before a sell-out crowd of nearly 100 people at Venture Okanagan's Fall Investor Forum on Nov. 13 at the Kelowna campus. This Dragons’ Den-style event offers startups the opportunity to pitch local business leaders and angel investors for a $5,000 cash prize, sponsored by Grant Thornton and Prospera Credit Union, and potential equity investment in their businesses.

Edmonton-based Login Radius was victorious, wowing the judges with a well-honed presentation about the company’s social platform application programming interface (API). Second place went to My Tea (pictured), a Kelowna-based online tea blending company, which won a 12-month Shaw Business package. The other companies that pitched at the event were, Timely Calendar and Event Platform, Jupiter Avionics Corporation, and Greys Paper Recycling Industries.

“The Investor Forum is really about exposure,” says Steve Watson, Okanagan College business professor and chair of Venture Okanagan. “While deals do not occur right away, at least one of our six presenters should receive an equity investment through the forum.”

Venture Okanagan is a partnership between a community of angel investors and Enactus Okanagan College, a non-profit student organization that focuses on a mix of entrepreneurial- and education-based projects in the community.

The next Investor Forum takes place in April 2014. For more information, visit Venture Okanagan.

Kelowna campus welcomed BOC economist

Farid NovinOn Nov. 14, esteemed economist Dr. Farid Novin made a special appearance at Okanagan College’s Kelowna campus. As the Bank of Canada’s Senior Representative for British Columbia and Yukon region, Novin shared some unique insights about how current events will impact Canada and the effect on British Columbia’s economy. This event was presented by the Okanagan School of Business and was Dr. Novin’s only appearance in the region.

To read more, visit the Okanagan College Public Affairs website.

Okanagan College students help the hungry

Enactus Penticton HalloweenThe results are in from Enactus Okanagan College’s Trick or Eat campaign this Halloween. Partnering with Save-on-Foods, students from Penticton, Vernon and Kelowna collected more than 5,000lbs for local food banks on Oct. 31.

The campaign, part of the Help Hunger Disappear Challenge—a yearlong cross-Canada initiative sponsored by the Campbell Company of Canada—involves setting up collection stations at Save-on-Foods stores as well as soliciting donations door to door. Since the program’s inception four years ago, Enactus Okanagan College has collected more than 270,000lbs of food.

Enactus Kelowna Halloween“This initiative is important because it brings short-term hunger relief to those that need it most, and raises awareness on the issue of hunger in our community,” says Brittney Weatherill, a fourth-year Okanagan College business student and Enactus Okanagan College’s vice-president of sponsorship.

For more information, visit the Okanagan College Public Affairs website.

Military display honours Canadian soldiers

For Remembrance Day, the Kelowna Campus Library collaborated with faculty members on a commemorative display in the Library’s foyer. From Nov. 9 to 16, the foyer housed a unique selection of military maps from the private collection of Terence Day (OC Geography, Earth and Environmental Science department) and gear from military personnel loaned by Howard Hisdal (History professor) and Chris Drummond (Kelowna campus Library). The multimedia feature also highlighted library books, e-books and other media that support studies and research in Canadian and world history.

The unique display made front-page headlines on the Kelowna Daily Courier.

Therapy dogs on campus

Murphy the therapy dogBeginning yesterday, the Penticton campus is hosting the St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dogs for two weeks.

The canines will be helping students and staff de-stress prior to the exam period. You can enjoy the benefit of their lovable company in PC 113, on the second floor of Centre of Excellence, the Library, and Sunoka’s north end.

Celebrating the College's cultures

International Students CelebrationGlobal diversity is being celebrated on the Kelowna campus now through to Nov. 22 for International Education Week. Displays, flags and maps are on view in the Centre for Learning’s Atrium. Special events will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. daily. You can expect music, fashion shows, art and language activities, and performances throughout the week. There will also be an opportunity to donate to the Philippines Typhoon Relief Fund. Visit the website for more event details.

Getting the word out

The Public Affairs Department of Okanagan College sent out the following media releases in the last two weeks:

Okanagan College students collect 5,000lbs of non-perishables for food banks

Okanagan College Foundation hands out thousands of dollars to Penticton students

Okanagan College professor Sean Johnston releases fourth book

Okanagan College hosts renowned Bank of Canada economist

Local entrepreneur credits Venture Okanagan’s Investor Forum for taking his company to the next level

Okanagan College Foundation hands out thousands of dollars to Vernon students


Student Awards

Penticton Award WinnerOn Nov. 14, Penticton student Trina Carroll received three of the 44 awards being given out to deserving students at Penticton’s annual awards reception.

The 38-year-old single mother of twins is in her third year of a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. In 2012, she won seven awards and said it was a game changer for her.

“I see opportunities where I used to see challenges. Before I used to think I couldn’t do it. Now I look at something and figure: why not give it a shot?”

Carroll received the Jim Henderson third year business award, the City of Penticton Centennial Community Spirit Award, and the Harley Biddlecombe Legacy Award this year.

Aside from Carroll, 33 more students collected $41,750 in awards from the Okanagan College Foundation.
Meanwhile in Vernon, 35 students received 58 awards at its annual Awards Reception, which took place on Nov. 7. The Okanagan College Foundation gave out a total of $41,000 to students that evening.
Kelowna’s awards will take place on Thursday, Nov. 21. The Foundation will give out 173 awards totaling $162,766 to 134 deserving students. See the next Inside Okanagan College for details.
Salmon Arm holds its annual awards night in the spring. Fifty-one awards totaling $59,700 will be awarded in June.
“These Awards nights mean a lot to students, but they are also significant for our donors who appreciate a chance to meet the recipients and see for themselves how donating to the Foundation has helped power the College’s promise to transform lives,” said Kathy Butler, Executive Director of the Okanagan College Foundation.

In the 2012-13 fiscal year, the Okanagan College Foundation gave out $676,826 in scholarships and bursaries.

Employee publishes timely journal article about open education resources

Ross McKerlichRoss McKerlich, Education Technology Coordinator, has published an article in the current edition of the International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (, entitled “Measuring Use and Creation of Open Educational Resources in Higher Education.”

The article focuses on how to measure institutional progress in adopting open educational resources (OER), explores the motivating factors for both creating and using these resources, and suggests an adoption metric based on a use-to-creation ratio.  

OER is a hot topic in post-secondary institutions right now. BC Campus, a website directory of online courses, now offers more than 40 open textbooks in high enrolment areas. “OER and online learning complement each other because both are emerging, both are digital, and both remove barriers for students,” says McKerlich.

This article can be accessed through the IRRODL website. For more information on the BC Campus Open Textbook initiative, visit the BC Campus website. Contact McKerlich at ext. 4921 or by email.

Retirements in Salmon Arm

Tom and StarSalmon Arm Biology Professor Tom Marshall and Library Assistant Star MacGregor are retiring (Pictured left: Star is in the blue and Tom is standing behind her.)

To celebrate their contribution and say goodbye, attend the Winter Holiday and Retirement Party on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 5:30 p.m.  For more details or to RSVP, contact Margaret Scharf at ext. 8238 or via e-mail.

Nov. 19 Vol. 8, issue 17


Time is running out to get your voice heard

The deadline for the Employee Feedback Survey is fast approaching. On Nov. 25, the survey will close and with it one of the most effective ways there is to voice your opinion about your workplace.

If you think the survey is a waste of time, think again. Previous surveys, for example, led to the co-operative development of the mandatory orientation for new staff and the creation of College Matters, which is our employee communications portal housed within myOkanagan.

If you have already filled out the survey, thank you. If you haven’t, there’s still time to make a difference to Okanagan College. It only takes five minutes and it’s anonymous and confidential. Survey closes at midnight on Nov. 25. Fill it out here or go to myOkanagan.

To request a paper copy, see your Dean or Director or contact Institutional Research.

Human Resources implements document imaging

Human Resources will be implementing document imaging of employee personnel files starting Dec. 2. In addition to helping the environment by cutting down the amount of paper HR uses, document imaging has many benefits including providing secure storage of personnel-related information, mitigating the risk of misplaced records or records that deteriorate from handling, providing easy retrieval of information, and eliminating physical storage space.

All current employees will have a paper-based personnel file and an electronic personnel file with any imaged documents received or created by HR after Dec. 1.

New employees hired on or after Dec. 2, will only have an electronic personnel file. Procedures to access employee personnel files will remain as outlined in HR Procedure 12.02.

To support this green initiative and lessen our footprint on the environment in the process, HR would like everyone to provide information and correspondence to HR in an electronic format whenever possible. This may require that you scan information or convert documents to a PDF format before sending information to HR. If you have any questions, please contact Margo Kendal.

Pension Plan contribution rate increase

As a result of the latest actuarial valuation of the Municipal Pension Plan, a contribution rate increase of 1.4 per cent will be put in place for employees and employers starting July 1, 2014. The 2012 valuation report determined the plan is only 96.5 per cent funded, meaning there is an unfunded liability of $1,370,000. Plan members and employers will share this contribution rate increase equally (meaning member rates will increase 0.7 per cent of salary and employer rates will increase 0.7 per cent of salary.)

A document containing Frequently Asked Questions for members is available on the Plan website at


Science in Society Speaker Series

On Nov. 19, Science in Society, a partnership between Okanagan College and the Okanagan Science Centre presents We're Not Alone: The Formidable Secret Lives of Parasites. Science writer and clinical parasitology specialist, Rosemary Drisdelle will discuss how parasites impact human cultures, events and history and what they might have in store for our future. The event takes place at 7:30 p.m. in the Vernon campus’s main lecture theatre. Admission is $7 in advance or $10 at the door. For advanced tickets, call the Okanagan Science Centre at 250-545-3644 or visit

Get a jump on your holiday gifting

To say thank you to its loyal customers, the Okanagan College Campus Store is holding its annual Customer Appreciation Day Sale on Thursday, Nov. 21. All campuses will be offering sale prices on clothing and giftware as well as a great selection of bargain books starting at $1. Treats will be on offer to sustain shoppers while searching for holiday presents, speaker thank you gifts and other promotional items. Store hours are as follows: 

Kelowna 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Penticton 9 a.m. -2 p.m.

Salmon Arm 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Vernon 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. 

Institute of Learning and Teaching (ILT) Seminar

On Nov. 21, the ILT presents Food as Fuel with Culinary Arts Instructor Perry Bentley. Bentley will reveal the latest food science and sports nutrition information and the effect that everyday activity levels have on the body. A question and answer period will follow the presentation, which takes place from noon-12:50 p.m., in room E303, at the Kelowna campus.

Cutting-edge technology speakers

Okanagan College partners with many associations to bring cutting-edge speakers to all of its campuses. One organization presenting seminars at the Kelowna campus this month is the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). On Nov. 13, just prior to the Investor Forum, Alex Miller, from the Kelowna Society of Investors presented An Introduction to Investing Outside the Box about untraditional investing options.

Upcoming on Nov. 26, technology expert Doug Oucharek, Manager of the Lustre Core Development Group at Intel Corporation, is presenting Clustered File Systems for High Performance Computing and Big Data. The talk takes place from 5-6 p.m., in room E103 at the Kelowna campus. See link for more information.

EFAP health news

Okanagan College's Employee and Family Assistance Provider (EFAP), PPC Canada, is hosting its monthly webinar on Nov 27. The topic is about creating a high-performance lifestyle by learning how to maximize your energy resources. It takes place at noon and is free. To register for the webinar, click here.

As a complement to the webinar, PPC’s November newsletter, Balance Sheet, is all about maximizing effectiveness through managing your energy and improving organization skills. Read the newsletter here.


Okanagan College is exploring initiatives with counterparts in Southern Queensland, Australia, see Australia region partners with TOTA.

Okanagan College alumni Sharon and Sean Peltier, both are graduates of the Culinary Arts program and Sharon even double-majored in Business, were mentioned in an article about Lake Osoyoos, see The glowing warmth of the South Okanagan.

Photos of the 50th anniversary appeared in Snap Okanagan, see 50 years of education in the Okanagan.

An exhibit at Okanagan College's Library in Kelowna comprised of maps loaned by Geography Professor Terrance Day was front-page news in the Okanagan Saturday, see Military maps lead viewers down road of wartime secrets.

The appearance of Dr. Farid Novin, the Bank of Canada’s B.C. economist, at Okanagan College made the news, see The real economic challenge, and OC hosts bank official.

Enactus Okanagan College's Trick or Eat food drive made headlines; see OC students help food bank, and Students collect 5,000 pounds for food banks.

Okanagan College’s Three-hour Short Story Contest was the subject of an article in the November issue of Off-centre Magazine, see Ready, set, write.

Registrar Jane Muskens wrote about the construction skills shortage in her column, Foreigners not expected to make “huge dent” in work force.

Okanagan College Foundation student awards made headlines in Vernon, see College honours students.